Historic Cork Catholic Young Mens’ Society Hall up for sale

HAVING hosted scout clubs and gatherings, chess tournaments, boxing challenges, smokey snooker nights, and also serving as the first theatre space for Cork’s Everyman Theatre Group over 50 years ago, the historic Cork Catholic Young Mens’ Society/ CYMS Hall in Cork city has been put publicly up for sale. 

There's large halls, a theatre/stage and shapes to throw at the curvaceous former CCYMS, with rental income, and entertainment venue scope

It’s guided at €2.65 million as a redevelopment opportunity, with massive scope for a live music venue.

Built in 1880, and having replaced an 18th century financial exchange on the site which in even early centuries was occupied by a castle, its address is 10, 11, 12 & 13 Castle Street, rounding a corner at South Main Street to the winsomly named Paradise Place.

The handsome, curved two/three story building runs to over 10,000 sq ft on three levels, with most of the upper floor currently vacant, with some dramatic high-ceilinged and vaulted rooms, crying out for new innovative uses and an energetic reboot.

At ground, is a number of retails units, currently earning €209,500 pa from ground floor tenants, including Boylesports (whose lease is close to expiry/renewal) and Fast Al’s pizzas.

At the rear, the sizeable property with several voluminous spaces bounds the Queens Old Castle property which is owned by Clarendon Properties, who may have an interest in some or all of it as a site redevelopment play. Clarendon have been acquiring properties/site assembly around another of their Cork city properties, the Savoy complex, on Patrick Street and around by Drawbridge Street.

The CCYMS property was last sold for trustees of the boy scouts in Cork by estate agent Dominic Daly for about €2m in 2004: involved in the purchase at the time was developer Joe O’Donovan.

It was part of five-year buying spree likely to have been in excess of €60m, excluding his far larger purchase of the Wilton Shopping Centre which O’Donovan had initally bought with Howard Holdings (coincidentally, Wilton is now also owned by Clarendon, and a major Wilton/Penneys redevelopment plan is likely to be lodged in late 2017, according to sources.)

The CCYMS sale is billed as an exciting opportunity for income and development, and is “ideally suited to leisure/restaurant/nightclub use, or alternatively for conversion to offices,” say Peter O’Meara and Chris O’Callaghan of Savills, Cork, selling by private treaty. “The property has incredible potential for the redevelopment of the upper floors to a unique retail, dining or leisure experience,” adds Mr O’Meara, noting the proximity to the Washington Street nightime strip with numerous bars and restaurants, as well as nearby traders like Argos, Lidl, TK Maxx and others.

The arrival to market comes as a generation bemoans the recent closure of a number of night-time entertainment venues in Cork city centre: the CCYMS may fit a niche, with an existing main ‘Little Theatre’ that’s c 60’ by 30’ with stage, and has 30’ high vaulted timbered ceilings.

It hosted the first days of Everyman Theatre in Cork in 1963/’64, when three amateur drama groups came together under the new company, initiated by John O’Shea, Dan Donovan and Seamus O Tuama.

Among the actors to tread the CCYMS boards was the recently deceased Michael Twomey.

DETAILS: Savills 021-4271371

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